2012 NCAA Tourney: Sweet Sixteen Thursday Recap

College Level Athletes Sweet Sixteen Recap: Thursday's Matchups

Four teams booked trips to the Elite Eight Thursday night as March Madness resumed with Sweet Sixteen action. Tonight’s games featured matchups from the East and West Regions.

The first game on the slate featured top seed Syracuse and the feisty four seed Wisconsin Badgers. The game was hotly contested throughout and came down to the wire. Syracuse held on to win 64-63 after Badgers guard Jordan Taylor’s long jumper fell short in the waning moments. The Orange advance to the East Regional Final on Saturday.

The second game to tip witnessed the first top seed to fall as the Michigan State Spartans were defeated by the Louisville Cardinals (4) 57-44 to advance to the West Region Final on Saturday. Louisville head coach Rick Pitino improved to 10-0 in Sweet Sixteen games. The Cardinals received a huge boost from freshman Chane Behanan, who scored 15 points with nine rebounds and three steals. The loss ends a great season for the Spartans and brings an end to the excellent collegiate career of Draymond Green.

Advancing to face Syracuse in the East Region Final are the Ohio State Buckeyes, who out dueled inner state rival Cincinnati 81-66. OSU was led by their big guys Deshaun Thomas and Jared Sullinger, who scored 26 and 23 points respectively. Point guard Aaron Craft had a solid all around performance, nabbing six steals to go with 11 points, five assists and four rebounds.

The two top seeds, Syracuse and Ohio State will face off in Boston Saturday with a trip to the Final Four at stake.

The final game of the evening was a hard fought battle between the Florida Gators (7) and the Marquette Golden Eagles (3). Thanks to a stellar performance from star freshman Bradley Beal, who dominated with 21 points, six boards, four assists, two steals and two blocks, the Florida Gators defeated Marquette 68-58 to advance to the West Region Final.

Florida and head coach Billy Donovan will take on his mentor Rick Pitino and Louisville in the first Elite Eight game on Saturday.

Once again, freshmen continue to play a major role in the outcome of tournament games. Chane Behanan and Bradley Beal were instrumental in their team’s victory.

Next year’s tourney should be no different with a horde of talented incoming recruits including Shabazz Muhammad, Mitch McGary, Nerlens Noel, Kyle Anderson, Xavier Johnson and Gabe York to name a few.

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Danny "DSPN" Dabiri (Editor)